The Church Teaches

MEMORY SELECTION: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:7

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Timothy 4:11-16; 6:2-10

SOLOMON, the author of the Book of Proverbs, possessed supernatural wisdom, which is manifest in the words of our memory selection. For, as he explains, the most important step in knowledge is the turning of the heart toward almighty God. It is only there that we may gain true knowledge and understanding.

In our consideration of the above text we note that the word “fear” is a rather poor rendition of the Hebrew “yirah” and is translated “reverence” by Rotherham and other reliable versions of the Bible. And we recognize this to be in keeping with the general spirit of God, who, the Scriptures inform us, is a God of love. We do not worship God out of “fear” but with the spirit of love and reverence. Reverence of God, then, instead of fear, is the first step in gaining a proper understanding of his will and purposes.

Within the context of this passage in Proverbs 1, verses 2-4 are mainly concerned with the young and less experienced in the truth. Solomon admonishes them “to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” No finer counsel could ever be given to the “babes in Christ”—those who are desirous of knowing God more fully, and of bringing their lives more completely in harmony with his will. King Solomon was also mindful of the young when he wrote, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”—Eccl. 12:1

In verses 5 and 6 of the proverb, Solomon indicates that the instructions of God could well be heeded by all mankind. He says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.” All, young or old, may learn a lesson from such wise counsel. Indeed, God places a premium on a teachable attitude of heart and mind.

We are living in a day of rapidly increasing knowledge on every hand. Yet, even with this acceleration along all lines of learning and human endeavor, there is little progress in true knowledge and understanding, simply because men have laid aside the fundamental teachings of God’s Word, the Bible. Science and philosophy have, to a large extent, replaced the basic laws which are encompassed in the divine Word. This is unfortunate, because at the very time in which knowledge is being increased, there is a corresponding decrease in faith as it pertains lo the Word of God. Much of the learning that is obtained by the ever-broadening scope of worldwide educational opportunities is turned in various other directions, while the simple truths contained in the Bible are often overlooked or considered elementary.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (I Cor. 2:4,5) Paul had learned the true source of all knowledge; and, as a servant of God, he is encouraging us to consider his preaching as being an example of God’s Spirit working in him.

The Apostle James points out that “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) From this we understand that true knowledge must, first of all, be “pure.” The child of God who has devoted his life to serve God and to know and do his will is careful to uphold the doctrines of truth in all of their simplicity. He will compromise neither the truth nor righteousness for the sake of peace at any price. He learns to appreciate the fact that with each measure in the growth of understanding there is a corresponding extent of responsibility. Let us endeavor to heed the instructions of God’s Word more faithfully.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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